When I sold my house at auction, I was thrilled when the hammer fell on a price at the top end of my hoped for range.
In the first year after buying the house, I did some updates.
I painted throughout and put down new carpet. I had a kitchen face-lift and laid laminate wood look floor boards over the pink and white kitchen tiles. I also cleaned out the garden beds of dead and overgrown shrubs but kept some things that might come back with a good prune.
I had a massive tree in the front yard that was undermining the footings, so that had to go also. Two years later and it was time for me to move on. Sam and I were buying a house together so my dear little house went on the market. But first, I needed to make sure it would appeal to buyers. As much as I loved how it worked for me, I needed to look at it through other peoples eyes.
The first thing I did was get moving on making the garden look nice. A cottage needs a cottage garden and that doesn't happen in two weeks. I started planning the sale in autumn so that when spring arrived the garden would be looking it's best. I planted standard roses and a Silverbirch tree in the front lawn to give a timeless appeal. A garden arch leading to the side way is planted with a yellow climbing rose. Not in full flower yet but some blooms had opened. I planted lavender when I moved in so they'd had a couple of years to get established. in the four weeks leading up to auction, I only needed to add a few plants to fill bare spots.
I put an iron bench on the front porch, flanked with identical standard Lillypillys in black urns, to give a welcoming but traditional, formal feeling.
You walk directly into the lounge room from the front door, so I needed it to act as a reception room. The furniture is placed away from the walkway but again creates an inviting space. I took down the framed family photos and kept styling on the crystal cabinet and piano similar. Note the lamps are of similar style. I removed one side of the sectional sofa and borrowed a wing back chair to give the room some character. I'd decided on using the French Provincial Style as inspiration for the theme of my home, a combination of old and new.
The coffee table is also simple, following the rule of three. A candle adds ambiance and being scented it created a lovely smell when people walked in the door. You'll notice I had every light turned on. I carried this out in all the rooms. It makes a huge difference. Most importantly, I followed advice from the real estate agent, to make sure there was enough open floor space for a small crowd of potential buyers to walk around during the scheduled open for inspections.
Kitchens sell homes, is what I've heard, so a face lift for my tired pink melamine kitchen was something I'd done knowing if I ever sold the investment would be worth it. While it was done at the time for me and not resale, I think it's worth sharing what I did because it did help me realize a good profit on the house.
The cupboards were in great shape and didn't need replacing, also I loved the splash back and wanted to keep those tiles. All I replaced was the bench tops and cabinet doors. I had new appliances installed and had laminated wood flooring laid straight over the old cracked pink and white tiles. I added a couple of black stools for a hint of farmhouse.
When sale time came, the agent suggested fresh lilies on the bench top. It was a little expensive to replace them each week but they added a touch of elegance and made the house smell beautiful. In the month leading up to auction, I enjoyed those flowers so much .
The clock on the wall in the dining area came from good ol' Kmart. It could have been bigger but I had a focal point on the table.
I kept the colors neutral and restful, in the master bedroom, creating interest with texture instead. The tufted bed head, embroidered pillows, fluffy rug and center pillow contrasted with a basket in the corner.
The shades on the ceiling light fixtures were broken in all the bedrooms, so I replaced them cheaply with batten fix light shades from Bunnings, hardware. I just threw away the fittings and kept the shade, at $9 each it was by far the cheapest option.
The second and third bedrooms were decorated simply with a picture of Paris above the bed in the double room and a birdcage filled with flowers and a battery powered candle sit's on the desk in the single room/study. The real estate agent suggested white doona covers and I think he got it right.
The bathroom needed a little spruce up. I replaced the taps and put in a clear shower screen door. The wire unit on the wall holds decor to add interest to a plain wall. An orchid next to the vanity gives a touch of class and a fluffy white towel hanging behind the door invites.
The last area to get a makeover for sale was the courtyard. It also was the most effort. I had to paint the fences, it was quite a job but, I got there by painting a section or two each day.
The garden beds were a bit bare but I had potted up ferns that had grown under the fence from my neighbors, so I sat those in the garden beds. I planted the birds nest fern on the right and put up some hanging baskets. I also added the succulent tower to the bed which gave it some architectural interest. The tree ferns were existing as was the Mondo grass. The back corner was empty and I planted several shrubs to fill it in. The statue was there also.
I put two outdoor chairs and small table in the back corner to invite people out into the space.
Some time ago my girlfriend gave me some fairy lights which we strung up under the eaves. I left them in place for sale so that they'd provide a nice ambiance to this area during the evening viewings. They made this space looked magical with the lights on. So nice that I couldn't bear to take them down and disappoint the new owner , so I left them behind as a gift.
Aside from opening up spaces and clearing out clutter, I made the most of what was existing. I did any maintenance jobs that were required, cleaned and updated worn out things. I created space for the buyers to imagine where they might put their furniture and personal items while keeping the charm of the cottage.
I saved money where ever I could which meant I had funds to spend where I knew I'd get a good return on my investment, like making over the kitchen. I didn't go for stone bench tops because I felt it wouldn't be money I got back. I chose instead a stone look laminate which worked really well.
Keeping the color scheme neutral helps buyers to visualize the colors they like layered in. I tried to keep similar color and style in each room of the house so that it felt cohesive and made the home feel more spacious. I also added interest with pretty decor items that didn't take over the room, more like earrings rather than a crown. Understated decorating again enabled buyers to visualize their own things.
It sold at auction after a couple of keen buyers drove the price up. Most of all I feel really happy that I've passed on a home to someone that is ready for them to just move in and enjoy. In getting it ready for the next owners, I feel I was also able to begin the process of letting it go.
Since selling my house, Sam and I have bought a house together and renovated it. It's a little more modern than the cottage but I have decorated it in a similar style. My furniture looks very nice in our new home. I've already posted pictures on my blog (in the decorating category) and on Instagram and or Facebook if you're interested to look at those.
As a romance author, I love all things romantic in my home and lifestyle. You can also discover more about my love of romance through my writing. Find my contemporary romance novels and short stories on my amazon author page or visit my Books page on this website.
Thanks for stopping by, until next week,
Our romantic formal lounge and entrance give me pleasure every day. Even though it's not quite finished, I decided to do a reveal post on this room because we've been living here for over 12 months now.
The chandelier in the lounge room is the draw card. It gets the most comments from visitors, over the way it complements the beautiful cathedral ceiling. It's not a large room but that ceiling gives an uplifting sense of space. When we bought the house the wood clad ceiling was stained brown giving the room had a dark cave atmosphere. Painting it white transformed it completely. The walls are painted a light grey called Windswept Beach. It throws pink tones which blends in with Sam's signature color of burgundy red.
The rug has some subtle grey but is mainly cream and burgundy so I needed to find a way of linking those colors into the rest of the room.
We didn't buy new furniture when we moved in together but combined what we had. Sam already had the sofas in this room, but they didn't pop against the wall color. The rug he chose looked great, so I went looking for cushions to tie the room together. I already had the round one which I bought from Cottage Industry in Fitzroy. The cranberry velvet came from Freedom Furniture and the striped cushion came from Spotlight. The lumbar cushion was purchased some years ago from Target. The two floral cushions I recovered from my patchwork fat quarter stash. None of the cushions are still being sold, but I wanted to show how they were collected from various places.
I used the principals of varying size, patterns, shape and texture to create visual interest . I mixed velvet with linen and embroidered fabrics. I arranged the cushions to have balance on each side in respect to these qualities.
This is a view of the other sofa in the room. Again I used cushions and throws to bring in the cream colours and used fabric from my fat quarter stash to recover some cushions.
This close up of the center piece on the coffee table shows my love of mixing traditional with modern. I love this mix of ceramic formed to look like cut glass. It was a house warming gift from a friend who obviously knows me very well.
Finally I'm including a before and after shot so you can see the how much the room has transformed. We took up the carpet and polished the floors and replaced the curtains. The furniture in the before photos belongs to the previous occupants. This is what it looked like when we viewed the house prior to purchasing it.
The lounge has evolved to have a boho meets shabby chic, romantic style with enough depth of color to make it a comfortable masculine space.
This room was always nice, but now I find it a more restful place that's pleasing to our eyes. That's really what it's all about. Sam chose the rug and color scheme for this room to go with his furniture, because it's the lounge he uses most to watch his sport. He was with me when we shopped for cushions and choosing the fabric from my fat quarter stash. We decided to bring in the floral patterns to tie in with the rug. As luck would have it the medallion pattern on the lumbar cushions that I already had, by sheer accident ties in with the border pattern on the rug.
There is still some decorating to do on that bare back wall. I have been looking but still haven't found that perfect print. Perhaps it's because we are now thinking that we might take inspiration from the previous occupiers and put a cabinet behind the couch. Sam has an impressive toy cowboy and Indian figurine collection that could be housed there. I'm thinking a glass door set of dark red Billy bookcases from IKEA might do the trick. Let me know what you think. Picture or cabinets?
I hope you've enjoyed my lounge room reveal and room tour. Leave any questions you have in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them. Have a great week.
Contemporary Romance Author. See Dora's books here.
Healing Love, Passionate Romance.
In the evenings we walked along the foreshore and stopped at a restaurant that took our fancy for dinner. The sun would set as we sipped a cocktail or glass of wine and listened to the waves patting the shoreline. We were treated to a full moon one night and I managed to get a picture of it
Last year, we had just moved into our house when we had to leave it again because we had a holiday booked. For me, Sam and I were starting our lives together. I’d looked forward to it for so long and had expected to be in our house a month or two earlier. But delays in the renovation put us back so far that our holiday had rolled around just as the removalists finished bringing in the furniture. So we locked the front door and left all the boxes and headed off to Palm Cove, just out of Cairns. For non Aussies, Cairns is the tourist capital of northern Queensland
We caught a gondola back down, which also had the most amazing views. We did have to share with another couple but you know, we were high up. Even though the view was wonderful, there was plenty of eye contact too.
It’s late on Sunday night when I’m typing this. I’ve been packing boxes today but didn’t get as much done as I would have liked to. Fatigue just creeps up on me and even though I’m not moving fast I’m breathing hard like I’ve been running. However, with frequent rest breaks, I’ve managed to pack a whopping eight boxes filled with books, study notes and financial records. They’re labelled and taped up ready for Thursday—moving day. But there’s still a lot more to do.
In my head I thought I knew exactly what needed to be packed, it would just be a matter of setting aside some time. But once I got into the garage I discovered sooooo much more. I have three boxes filled with ornaments! How did that happen? I guess my sister was right when she said I like to have my treasures around me. I have a lot of treasure.
Minimalist I’ll never be. I like a decorated nest. I need beautiful things to look at and I need to be able to change them out from time to time so I don’t get bored. Lucky I have a lot of boxes. I’d been thinking there were too many, but now I think I might need a few more before I’m finished.
I’m moving in with my sister for a couple of months until our renovations are completed at the new house. It’s very exciting seeing it slowly transform but as site manager my head is full of the many decisions that have to be made and what is on tomorrow’s to do list.
A quick update on our progress includes the tiles having been chosen for the kitchen and ensuite. I’ve posted pictures of the tiles for the new ensuite on Instagram and Facebook, also last week the kitchen design was finalised. We chose our carpet and had the rooms measured up and got a quote from a floor sander/polisher for the pine floorboards in our living areas. I’m waiting on the Tiler, Plumber and Blinds man to come out and give us quotes and I’m looking for a carpenter who can pull out the old kitchen and ensuite in the next two weeks.
While I’ve been packing, I’ve discovered a couple of tricks to share with you.
Once you’ve done a complete cupboard wipe it out and then put the packed boxes back in the cupboard. Squat boxes fit into normal kitchen cupboards but are also easier to pack and they aren’t as heavy to carry around once they’re full.
If you have a box that isn’t quite full, use your plastic containers as packing filler. This picture shows a box of saucepans that would rattle and shake when being moved because they don’t come all the way to the top of the box. Instead of using newspaper I found the right size plastic container. It reduces the amount left to pack from the overflowing plastics draw too.
If you have any packing tips you can share with me I’d love to hear them. I’ll be doing very little else for the next couple of days.
So It's our first Christmas together and Sam and I have bought a house. We're thrilled and can't wait to get into our new bigger place but we'll have a little while yet to wait.
We don't settle until January and there are renovations needed so I've been driving myself crazy with a Pinterest addiction. I can't stop my fingers from wanting to scroll on my phone through the many possibilities that I could use to decorate our new home.
If you follow me on Facebook you'll already have that news along with my extended family that my house has sold. My family had our once a year catch up/Christmas party last weekend and everyone was thrilled for us having read our news online. After the excitement of my auction was over, we moved Sam's furniture in to my house. It went from spacious luxury to cramped elegance. But it's worth it. We now have two TV's. That is heaven. I love watching home reno shows that are on at the same time as Sam's favorite Sixty Minutes or Sunday Night.
We decided as it's out first year living together we'd like to do a combined family lunch so we will be setting up tresle tables in the loungeroom and serving Turkey and Ham buffet style. It feels strange to be having Christmas in a house I've sold. It's a kind of limbo land, living in a house that won't be mine for much longer. It's promised to another family and I feel like a caretaker on some level.
I'm finding a way to decorate in a more restrained way this year, going for red and white mainly, Pinterest is full of inspiration and motivation. Sam and I have collected a few ornaments during our excersions to Christmas shops and they are on a smaller tree than I usually have. So the house feels a bit different this year. But once the family arrive and the bon bons are snapped it will have the feeling I love.
Not all our loved ones will be at the table this year. Some have other places to be and one very special person has gone to heaven. But I know that the love we have stays constant no matter where our loved ones are. We'll drink a toast to absent family and enjoy the company of those who can be sitting at the table with us.
I don't know if we'll be hosting next Christmas in our new home or who will be able to join us but I know one thing for sure, I'll be spending it with Sam and some of our family somewhere, and that's what Christmas is all about. Because I love it so much I couldn't help putting a Christmas scene in the epilogue of 'A Dance with the Laird'. There's something about family coming together to give to each other that makes me happy and want to cuddle someone. Even though I'm having Christmas in limbo land, I'll have the company of people I love and it will be just fine.
The last few weeks, spent getting my house ready for sale, have been a huge challenge. A feat completed through a lot of help, determination and frequent rest breaks. I’d paint a panel of fence and then lie down for an hour and then go and weed the garden for half an hour and then lie down again. Having a problem with energy levels due to long standing health issues means I can only accomplish a certain amount in a day. Planning has been a major help. Week one was getting the fence painted and weed the garden.
Week two I focussed on decluttering the inside of my home, removing unnecessary furniture and setting up the study as a double bedroom and moving my desk to the third bedroom with a single bed. I completed an artwork for that room and hung it up. My sister and brother in law were a great help moving heavy furniture out to the garage. Sam helped me move the lighter pieces like Kmart bookcases and my antique dressing table. Together we made lots of trips to the charity shop and donated a lot of linen, pictures and books.
Week three I focused on cleaning. I had the windows washed and have general maintenance around the house completed and dress the garden and home. My sister was amazing. She helped me clean out the crystal cabinet and washed all the crystal. She went over the antique timber furniture in the house with cedar oil giving it a deep rich lustre. She helped me in the garden too. She planted some daisies in the front yard and moved an Azalea from the back of the bed to in front of the pond where it could be seen. She also lent me her gorgeous red wingback chair to add character to my otherwise neutral colour scheme. Sam vacuumed the house meticulously. I love to watch that man vacuum. He also decobwebbed the entire house inside and out. I washed all the curtains and spring cleaned the bathroom, laundry and kitchen. In the garden I spread mulch on the beds and resurrected a climbing rose archway that had blown down in the gale force winds Melbourne had last week.
Sunday was the last day before the photographer arrived. The courtyard was swept; the pots moved to the garden bed. It opened up the space and filled the beds creating a lush oasis. The pillows in the loungeroom were carefully chosen and the master bed was dressed with enough pillows to please a princess. The house was ready.
Now the photo’s are done and I have little more to do other than a little general tidying up for open for inspections, I have time to enjoy the results of all the hard work. I wake in the mornings and walk around my home and love the way it feels. I hope the next owner is able to love it as much as I do. In making this home lovely for them it’s helped me accept it's time to pass it on. The house is all dressed up and ready to go, and I am ready to go too.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, recusing roses and planting new ones.